Sunday, 5 April 2009

End in Sight

Opening Prayer

Here I am Lord,
Speak to me
within my heart and soul.
I am listening.

Matthew 26:40
‘Could you not watch with Me?’


Here we are, those that are left, at the foothills; the boundary between the desert and civilisation. Behind us miles of nothingness, scarifying winds and sand rubbing our bodies raw; emptying our minds of colour; the need to survive has taken away the desire for the world’s enticements. We are content that we simply live.

Ahead of us, the next part of the journey; what seemed to be the goal but now I am not so sure; the well travelled road to the city gates then on to what lies beyond.

What lies beyond?

It’s not been that long, only a couple of weeks, but it seems a lifetime since he made the invitation ‘Come and See’. That’s what worries me now. His words always seem so simple, so obvious; ‘Love your neighbour’, ‘forgive’, ‘be as children’. Quiet words, tattooed onto your heart, impossible to ignore, impossible sometimes to obey.

Sadness in his eyes; more than I have ever seen: ‘Could you not watch with me?’

A strange request. A last request?

If this is it, why don’t we just stay here? The desert is hard but the way ahead looks harder. Here we would be safe, isolated, away from those who can hurt us. But for how long? Until our bones lie bleached in the sun and our story is as ephemeral as our ghosts calling out across the dunes?

If he is able to say ‘yes’, despite the forebodings, if he is able to walk willingly into his future; how can I say it is too much simply to watch, to be a witness?

He is already making his way through the brush, always the leader, showing the way. Just the thought of him leaving me makes my heart jump, pushing me down the slope after him.
I know it is not going to be so simple, but I will try, I will be there to ‘watch’.

The next step

If Lent has been a real journey for you, through abstinence; through prayer; through challenge; then it is possible that, by now, you have got quite used to the discipline and the austerity of a desert life. It may feel almost inviting to stay here.

Because, as we follow the cycle the Church gives us, we know that the triumph and celebration that will meet us at the gates of the golden city is not going to last.

We are introduced to Holy Week with a fanfare and fireworks, almost a shock to the system, bringing us out of our quietness and reflection into a dramatic series of extraordinary events.

It would be a total dismissal of the past few weeks to simply bury our heads and wait for the glory of the Resurrection. We have walked the walk and deserve our place at the Lord’s side, for as long as we can bear it, as long as we can be the new witnesses to His journey. The conversion in our hearts that has taken place over Lent allows us to see with new eyes; to take in the mystery. As every sunset captivates us even though we know the day will come again, try to live this week transformed by every moment, every betrayal, every sadness.

As though we did not live in sure and certain hope….

Closing Prayer
May the blessing of the Sacred Three
The Father who gave us the Word
The Son who is the Word
The Spirit who opens the Word within us
Be with us today and evermore.


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